MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
FORREST CITY CITY COUNCIL
FORREST CITY, ARKANSAS
June 2, 2015
The City Council of Forrest City, Arkansas, met in regular session on June 2, 2015. Mayor Bryant called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Alderman Twillie offered prayer after which the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. The following answered roll call: Mayor Bryant, Clerk Cochran, Attorney Cline, and City Council members: Williams, Echols, Hollowell, Breeding, Twillie, and Capps. Alderman Fields came in at 6:05 p.m. Alderman Oswalt was absent.
Alderman Twillie made a motion to approve the minutes of May 19, 2015 regular meeting. Motion second by Alderman Hollowell. Roll Call: All Ayes.
REPORT OF COMMITTEES
Alderman Twillie stated that he would bring Alderman Williams up-to-date on the recreation committee which was recommended in the March 18, 2014 meeting.
Alderman Twillie said he had been trying to establish a committee for the track. Alderman Twillie said the committee would consist of city officials Mayor Bryant, Council members Breeding, Capps, Fields, and himself. The school would be represented by the superintendent, Joey Astin who serves on the school board committee and Dr. Rodney Echols who retired from the school system. Other members would consist of Jack Crumbley, Dr. Stuart Townsend, Fredrick Freeman, Chris Quinn, Recreation Director Kenneth Taylor, and Don Edmonson.
Alderman Twillie added to the list Janet Benson, Cedric Williams, and Forrest City High School track Coach Donnie Willis.
Alderman Twillie also stated in a previous meeting, he asked former Alderman Peacock, Hollowell, Echols, and Oswalt to serve on the infra-structure committee for the streets and by-pass and everyone said yes.
Alderman Twillie made a motion to approve both committees. Second by Alderman Echols.
Alderman Breeding stated he has missed the first couple of meeting, but if the meeting continue be scheduled for 5:00 p.m. he would not be able to attend. Alderman Twillie stated he would pass the information on so the meetings could be adjusted.
Attorney Cline stated there needs to be some sort of input on what the parameters of this committee are going to be. He said he remembered that the council talked about the committee. When he looked back through the February and March 2014 minutes it was brought up as a track committee to advise the city council on how it might collaborate with the school on administering the track. Then he heard in the media that this committee has sort of evolved into a recreation committee that has taken in the swimming pool, the track and talking about a football stadium. He stated he was not sure that everyone was on the same page and if not, there will be trouble at some point. Attorney Cline stated it needed to be settled what authority the committee has.
Alderman Twillie stated his opinion is that the committee does not have any authority. The city council and mayor still run the show. He said he ask the committee to go out and generate some funds because the council knew on the front end if they were going to get a nice track and aquatic center then some money was going to have to be generated.
Attorney Cline stated that he had been asked how this committee goes about getting money for feasibility studies, architectural studies. He stated he is not sure that some of the committee members know what their roles supposed to be; the committee needs to know to avoid confusion.
Alderman Breeding stated for clarification your proposal and your motion is for an advisory committee with no authority.
Alderman Twillie said “Right,” no from a power standpoint, he is just trying to get some money raised. After discussion, Roll Call: Alderman Williams, Echols, Breeding, Twillie, Fields, and Capps All Ayes. Alderman Hollowell said No.
June 2, 2015 Minutes cont.
DEPARTMENT HEADS REPORTS
Code Officer Muqtasid acknowledged that code enforcement has a new secretary, she then asked Myra Isom to stand. She said Power House Warehouse located at 119 South West Street is under new construction. One new business, Seth Avant Harmony, 110 North Grant Street. The old Gadberry building is going to be torn down hopefully by the end of the month.
Chief Ruffin gave an incident type report from April 14, 2015 through June 1, 2015. He stated building fires 10, cooking fires 2, passenger vehicle fires 10, road freight or transportation vehicle fires 3, brush or grass fire 1, outside rubbish fires 2, rescue ems incident 1, medical assistant 126, motor vehicle accidents 1, lock-in 2, heat from short circuit 1, arcing 2, person in distress 1, public service assistant 1, dispatched and cancelled 1, smoke detector 4, alarm system activation 6, carbon monoxide detector activation 1, windstorm assessment 1. Total incident from January 1-June 1, 2015- 556.
Mr. Murdock stated he and Mayor Bryant met with Woodruff Electric, their engineering group and Arkansas Electric Cooperative earlier in the month to discuss connectives issues for the solar project. He also went to Little Rock and met with John Tender and his boss to talk about the application process. Mr. Murdock said the department lost four of its most seasoned employees. He said he was searching to replace those employees in the Little Rock, Fort Smith and West Memphis areas. He stated the department needed to purchase a camera truck to transport all I and I equipment alone with the camera. The purpose of the camera is to run it through the sewer lines to detect all breaches.
J.C. Rice reporting for Public Works Director Rooks. He stated that 36.4 tons of leaves and 69.16 tons of brush were taken to the landfill; 662.14 tons of garbage was picked-up and taken to West Helena and 210 passenger tires were taken to Nearco. At the beginning of next week, they will start repairing the culver on Eaton Road.
Alderman Twillie asked Mr. Rice if the department had a uniform code, if so what are the colors and the representation. Mr. Rice stated the laborers wear two-ton grey, dark grey pants and light grey shirts with orange strips for traffic safety. The directors wear two-ton brown without the orange stripes.
Alderman Twillie stated that the council approved new truck for the department, he then asked Mr. Rice how many did they get. Mr. Rice stated he was not sure of what equipment was purchased. Alderman Twillie asked why all the city’s vehicles do not have city’s logo on them. Mr. Rice stated stickers have been ordered recently for the other vehicles.
Alderman Twillie then stated he wants the council to add to the equipment list for the city shop a good copy and fax machine.
Mr. Gaines stated that the civic center commission met this afternoon and discussed advertising for onsite caterer; everything else is running smoothly.
Chief Reynolds reported statistics. He said in crime reporting that goes to the FBI, for the month of April there were 269 reportable crimes which consist of homicides, faceable rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, larceny, and vehicle theft. Out of the 269 incidents there were 123 arrests. For the month of May, there were 125 reportable crimes and 114 arrests.
Alderman Twillie asked Chief Reynolds in the exit interviews, why are so many officers leaving the department. Chief Reynolds stated there is a variety of things; salary, a greater opportunity to move to a larger department and even closer to home.
Alderman Capps also expressed his concerns with the big turnover in the police department.
Mayor Bryant stated the city lost a number of officers to St. Francis County and other cities because officers could retire from the city and start another pension plan with the county.
June 2, 2015 Minutes cont.
Mayor Bryant asked Chief Reynolds to bring a statistic comparison report for one year at the next meeting.
Alderman Breeding asked each department head after their report if they had a city’s credit card and if so, he would like to have copies of the statements alone with the receipts for the last three months.
Alderman Ardelia Echols stated that she was served by a city employee after hours over a pile of grass clippings. She feels that she was bullied, harassed, and it was a personal attack because she voted no on an ordinance a few meetings ago. She also stated that she is being treated differently from the male councilmen.
Public Works Department Equipment Purchase
Alderman Twillie told Mayor Bryant the purchases had already been approved by the budget committee.
Request Permission to Bid Condemn Structures
Code Enforcement Muqtasid stated she was requesting permission to bid two condemn structures located at 116 E. Elise St.-Nancy Brinker and 728 Village St.-Anderson Byers. She said she had a letter from Henry Malone for property on 209 Brandon Street requesting time to re-build the structure. Alderman Twillie made a motion to exempt the property on 209 Brandon for condemnation. Second by Alderman Fields.
Alderman Capps asked the time limit on the demo permit. Code Enforcement stated two months.
Roll Call: All Ayes.
GENERAL FUND BILLS
Alderman Echols made a motion to approve and pay the General Fund bills in the amount of $26,076.62. Second by Alderman Twillie. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Alderman Capps made a motion to approve and pay Street Fund bills in the amount of $1,897.07. Second by Alderman Hollowell.
Alderman Capps made a motion to approve and pay Solid Waste Fund bills in the amount of $3,936.36. Second by Alderman Fields. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Alderman Capps stated if a department head cannot be present, he would like for their report to be put in the council’s package.
Alderman Twillie made a motion to adjourn at 7:00 p.m.
Larry Bryant, Mayor
Derene Cochran, City Clerk-Treasurer